The Spook Who Sat by the Door is 102 minutes of revolution! Gang bangers, CIA operatives & tactics, crooked cops, racism, pirate radio, domestic terrorism, guerilla militias, espionage, hookers, Dahomey Queens, politics, Black Greeks...Oh, and sex, drugs, and Herbie Hancock & The Headhunters are all included within this fantastic 70s blaxploitation film. Sam Greenlee's novel of the same title was accurately duplicated on screen (Ive read the book & saw the movie, in that order).
Directed by Ivan Dixon & released in 1973, Spook depicted a former college grad/football star named Freeman that became the only Black man in the CIA. Essentially the CIA had to integrate due to the post Civil Rights Era. Freeman outlasts all the other Black competitors in all regions; defusing and assembling bombs, hand to hand combat, shooting, obstacle courses, and written and oral testing. After this, he makes it into the CIA in DC and works in the basement of the central headquarters copying classified files on old-school Xerox copiers. He only comes out to give tours to other visiting officials so the CIA seems integrated. He's their 'token' Black.
After a short stint at the CIA, Freeman resigns playing the foot shuffling negro role and tells the head of the CIA that he's returning to his native Chicago because he can help his people more there as a social worker. Once back in Chicago, he quickly rekindles an old flame from college, and a new one from the streets that he calls his Dahomey Queen. He encourages her to wear her hair natural. Freeman meets up with his old college buddy Dobbs, who is now a high ranking official on the police squad.
Using the knowledge he acquired from the CIA, Freeman sets out to transform the Cobras-the baddest gang in Chicago, into one of the most powerful urban guerilla militias world wide. He wins their respect by beating up the three leaders at the same time in their own pool hall. He teaches them how to make different types of bombs, sniper tactics, karate and other grappling martial arts, leadership rank and proper protocol, knowledge of the terrain, robbery (they rob a bank dressed as Caucasians), and much more. They take over the city, bomb the mayors office, make the national guard head officer take acid and trip out, move the operation to other cities with other brothers, and take over radio stations announcing their reasons for their attacks, naming themselves the Freedom Fighters, led by Freeman who calls himself Uncle Tom instead of Uncle Sam.
Herbie Hancock and The Headhunters make some live appearances in the movie (club shots) and he's accompanied by Bennie Maupin on reeds and Mike Clark on drums. The sound is very spacey at times and hard and funky at others. Regardless, the music fits the scenes. The ending is very climatic. This is a must see and read for anyone interested in how far people are willing to go for FREEDOM!